Leading by Example: An Interview With Maria Sainz

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Maria Sainz has occupied the C-suite at a number of medtech firms for more than two decades, one of the few women to have held the top spot in what was once a male-dominated industry. Those 20-plus years have taught her the value of decisiveness, a willingness to dive headfirst into a new corporate culture, and the importance of remaining visible.

Think of all of the challenges that confront the CEO of a small venture-backed medtech company, from clinical trial issues, to the need to raise capital, to competition with much larger companies and global market leaders and fast followers, to the need to redesign products and read the needs and interests of customers to ensure adoption, to creating a winning corporate culture. It’s almost certain that Maria Sainz, in a career that has spanned more than two decades, has faced and solved the challenge.

Sainz spent the first part of her career at Guidant, as one of an extraordinary group of female executives who, under the leadership of then-CEO Ron Dollens, were part of Guidant’s extremely successful growth path in the 1990s.

After Guidant’s acquisition by Boston Scientific, a decade or so following its spinout from Eli Lilly, Sainz stayed at the acquiring company only two years before embarking on a string of CEO assignments—Concentric Medical, CardioKinetix, Aegea Medical, and Hyperfine— that would make her one of the most respected and sought-after CEOs in medtech.

In the interview that follows, conducted at the Bohemian Medical Device Summit in Seville, Spain, last December, Sainz talks about her many challenges and successes and the strategies and tactics that underlie her approach to management.


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